Gloria Allred needs no introduction, especially when it comes to the topic of women’s rights. She has devoted over four decades of her life to the rights and equal treatment of minorities in society. At the mere age of 76, with the #MeToo and Times Up Movement reaching new heights, there’s no sign of her slowing down anytime soon. She has an incredible story to tell and we’re here to listen.
I want to inspire and empower others. I want people to know you don’t have to be a lawyer to help with change. That’s what it’s all about.
Seeing Allred the new Netflix documentary directed by Sophia Sartain and Roberta Grossman, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in January, captures the life and career of famed feminist attorney and equal rights activist, Gloria Allred. As many people know (especially the die-hard feminists reading this) Gloria fought for women's rights at a time when it was extremely unpopular and frowned upon by the public.
Not only does this film showcase the outstanding progress that Gloria has made towards addressing injustice in society, but it allows the audience to observe a side to Gloria that is never portrayed by the media. She was often regarded as a money-hungry attention seeker who worked in the same league as the devil, but despite all of this, she was unafraid to argue her point. She has taken on a number of landmark fights for women’s rights, including fighting for The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s and arguing against the statute of limitation for rape in California, allowing victims to pursue charges years after the event has occurred.
Gloria Allred speaks at a press conference with Chelan, an alleged victim of Bill Cosby, on December 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
What’s most shocking about this documentary is the criticism, hate and overall disrespect shown towards Allred over the years, as she fought for a number of women and victims who were abused by powerful men, including Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. The audience witnesses the dramatic encounters and press conferences, as well as Allred's dedication to her clients, and the cause. This is what makes Gloria unique, her work is her life and identity, fighting for justice isn’t a 9-5 job, it’s not a sacrifice, it’s a commitment.
Gloria made sure that the documentary focused on her clients rather than her private life. Although she keeps her guard up throughout the film, even when asked about her estranged ex-husband William Allred's involvement in defrauding the government in 1987, we also see a more vulnerable side to her that we can empathise with - she has been through two tough marriages, and an abortion herself.
In response to the Times Up Movement, Gloria has this to say; “It is a reckoning. It's overdue. It’s happening. There's a significant power shift. And I hope that we're never going back. I don't think we will.” It’s people like Gloria Allred (and her activist daughter, Lisa) who are responsible for the changes occurring in society today, from almost witnessing the first elected female president of The United States of America to fighting for justice in a post-Harvey Weinstein era. Although there’s still so much more work to be done and the film stops short of capturing Allred in the midst of the #MeToo movement, it’s clear to see that our fight has just begun.
You can watch Seeing Allred on Netflix now.
Photo Credit: Netflix Official